Plant-based eating is proving to be more than just a transitory fad. As the number of people who identify as vegan continues to increase, the old tropes no longer work. Specialty vegan meals on flights or in restaurants just aren’t enough. Now, vegan travelers want to bed down in eco-friendly, cruelty-free hotels. The hospitality industry has responded. Here are five vegan hotels for a sustainable escape.
Hilton London Bankside
In January 2019, the design-forward Hilton London Bankside opened its first 100 percent vegan suite, complete with a plant-based keycard; eco-friendly feather-free bedding; chic Piñatex made from pineapple-leaf-derived-leather, furniture; wool-free, eco-cotton carpeting and plant-based toiletries that have not been tested on animals.
The minibar provides a variety of locally-sourced, vegan treats while the in-room menu includes botanical options such as muesli, grilled portobello mushroom, avocado and scrambled Quorn, cauliflower steak and five-bean dhal. The suite boasts the UK’s Vegan Society seal of approval.
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In keeping with their cruelty-free ethos, Jack McLaren-Stewart and his business partner and mother, Sandra, recently unveiled their 11-room, vegan hotel, Saorsa 1875, in a 19th century stone mansion in Pitlochry, Scotland.
The UK’s first 100 percent vegan hotel, Saorsa has enjoyed huge success since it opened in June 2019. Having noticed a correlation between “luxury” experiences and the number of animal products used, Jack set out to prove animal sensitivity and a high-class life aren’t warring ideals.
Thus, at Saorsa 1875, everything, from the wines to the contemporary chic velvet-upholstered furniture, duvets, toiletries and cleaning products are vegan. Heating comes from newly fitted radiators powered by renewable Ecotricity.
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LA VIMEA, Südtirol, Italy
The floors are natural, the bed linens are made from Fairtrade organic cotton and Tencel, the mattresses are plant-based and biodegradable and the cosmetics are all-natural and vegan.
Vegan hotels don’t only appeal to vegans, says Joshua Thomas, operations manager at LA VIMEA and its sister property in Tuscany – Agrivilla i pini, via email.
The restaurant’s menu at LA VIMEA is 100 percent organic, health-conscious and vegan, with all ingredients locally and sustainably sourced or obtained through Fairtrade, the hotel garden or Agrivilla i pini. The wines are also vegan and natural and come from small-batch producers.
“People are becoming more conscious about the way they live and are also becoming more conscientious towards animals," says Thomas. "Veganism has seen a great increase in popularity over the last year or two, which is fantastic. It’s resulted in vegan travel options becoming more necessary since it’s created a demand in the market.”
Stanford Inn by the Sea, Mendocino, CA
This elegant yet rustic pet-friendly hotel on California’s Mendocino Coast is the USA’s only vegan resort.
Situated atop a meadow overlooking organic gardens and the Pacific Ocean, and built according to ecological principles, guest rooms feature wood-burning fireplaces and wood paneling in pine and redwood.
The restaurant, The Ravens, prepares organic, vegan dishes and serves a selection of local natural and vegan wines. Guests of Stanford Inn can join the twice-weekly harvest, tour the gardens, participate in nature walks and attend nutrition seminars and yoga classes. And by joining a naturalist-led, redwood outrigger canoe tour, guests may have the opportunity to spot harbor seals, river otters and birds.
PlantLife Hotel Sanctuary, Thailand
Billing itself as the world’s first vegan, solar-powered, zero-waste, sustainable luxury hotel, PlantLife Hotel Sanctuary's motto is “luxury without compromise”. The 23-villa hotel will launch in 2021, covering nearly 12 miles (19,200 square meters) of coconut land on the Thai island of Koh Phangan.
From bamboo, soybean and hemp fabrics to pineapple and leaf “leathers,” all the fabrics and materials used at PlantLife will be natural, eco-friendly and organic.
Owners Max and Joanna Hellier visited a handful of vegan-friendly hotels, but found that “none seemed to be luxury or catered to the growing vegan, truly sustainable community and its expanding requirements.”
At PlantLife, animal lovers will not only bask in luxury and dine on gourmet, plant-based Thai and international cuisine, they’ll also make friends with the sanctuary’s 100-plus rescued cats and dogs.
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